“Execution and leadership,” Lynn said of his veteran quarterback. “The things he always brings to the field. We haven’t had any turnovers with the first unit, knock on wood, but we don’t want any turnovers. We want to protect the football.”
For Rivers, Saturday is one last opportunity to work out the kinks before the Chargers’ regular-season opener on the road against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 11. Rivers has played in just one series so far in exhibition play, a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 13.
“It is important that we get out there and really get the feel -- all of us together -- the ebb and flow of a game,” Rivers said. “Punting -- maybe the defense gets a turnover -- have some of those game situations before you get into the regular season, because we all know that that’s not the real world, that you’re just gonna go out there and score like we did in that first drive against Seattle.
“At the same time, you can’t overreact either way: ‘Oh man, the Chargers looked really good against the Rams, we think they’re gonna be this.’ Or, if we stink it up on Saturday, it’s not the end of the world, either. I think being on the road, getting in an atmosphere where there’s noise, hopefully having to use some silent counts, some of those things before we get ready to go to Denver on Monday night.”
While Rivers and the rest of the starters are slated to play in the first half, Lynn said it’s even more important to get a further evaluation of the backup-quarterback competition between Kellen Clemens and Cardale Jones. Lynn said Clemens remains the No. 2 quarterback for now.
“I really want to continue to evaluate these two backup quarterbacks,” Lynn said. “Cardale’s been here two weeks and is picking up the system. Kellen knows the scheme and Kellen is our backup right now.”
Chargers rave about new facility: Players were all smiles after practice as they got comfortable with a new field, locker rooms, weight room and training facility at the Hoag Performance Center, the Chargers’ new, 100,000-square-foot headquarters in Costa Mesa.
Players raved about the new, immaculate grass field, which used to be a paved parking lot but now looks as pristine as a golf fairway.
“It’s a lot of space,” Lynn said. “Every meeting room is about 20 percent bigger than the ones we had in San Diego. ... The technology is really cool. They just did a heck of a job with this building, on such short notice. We talk about competing all the time, well, this organization is competing. That’s my message to this team.”
Injury update: Cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring) returned to practice Thursday and could play Saturday, Lynn said. Tight end Antonio Gates, defensive lineman Brandon Mebane and defensive back Dwight Lowery also returned to practice after taking a rest day Wednesday. Receiver Dontrelle Inman remains out as he continues to work back from offseason sports-hernia surgery. Tackle Joe Barksdale (foot), tight end Jeff Cumberland (hamstring), tight end Sean McGrath (hamstring), tackle Tyreek Burwell (hand), linebacker Denzel Perryman (ankle), guard Forrest Lamp (knee), cornerback Trovon Reed (hip) and receiver Mike Williams (back) also did not practice.